La Mar Estaba Serena — A Folk Tune

I learned this sweet tune from a woman in our choir, Erika Dominguez. Singing it in a round is a bit tricky, as the last line creates some dissonance. It’s also quite lovely to just sing it as is, in unison together. Enjoy!

Lyrics:
La mar estaba serena
Serena estaba la mar (repeat)

Translation:
The sea was calm/serene
Calm/serene was the sea

Note: This little jingle is sung by small children in many Spanish speaking countries to play with vowel sounds, similar to the English song, “I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas.” They start out with “La mar estaba serena…serena estaba la mar” with the correct vowels. Then they repeat the stanza 5 times, each time substituting all of the vowels with either “a”, “e”, “i” “o” or “u.” So, by the 5th repetition everyone is singing “Lu mur ustubu surunu…,” etc. Then, after all the vowels are gone through, the correct pronunciation is sung as the grand finale. It is quite hilarious, and usually the kids are rolling all over the place by the end, enjoying the silly sounds.

 

Chant to Yemaya – Traditional Yoruba Chant

A traditional Yoruba chant to the Goddess of the sea. I like to invite my singers to call out the qualities of the ocean before we sing it, then invite them feel the flow of the water in their bodies as they move and sing. This chant can be sung in a round.

A traditional chant in the public domain.

Lyrics:

Yemaya oh, ago, ako yo yemaya
Yemaya oh, ago, ako yo yemaya

Wood Stone by Joules Graves

This song is a most beloved classic in my song circles. I’ve been teaching it since 2005 and everyone loves it! It’s one that people can really sing out on. I typically use a rattle to help keep the beat. Enjoy!

This song is in the public domain.

Lyrics:

Wood stone feather and bone
Roaring of the ocean guide us home
x2
High angel singing
x2
In my soul
x4
River sea redwood tree
Howling of the wind gonna set us free
x2
High angel singing
x2
In my soul
x4